Forty-four-year-old Banožić was overtaking a truck in poor visibility on a side road near his home in eastern Croatia between the towns of Vinkovci and Županja at around 6 a.m. CET on Saturday and collided with an oncoming van. The van driver lost his life in the accident.
The prosecutor’s office in the eastern Croatian city of Vukovar said blood and urine samples were taken from the minister for testing. According to the initial investigation, Banožić “overtook another vehicle without checking that it could be done safely and regardless of weather conditions”.
The minister was apparently heading for the hunt
“Due to the extraordinary circumstances, I dismissed Mario Banožić from the post of Minister of Defense,” Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said at an afternoon press conference in Zagreb. Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman will temporarily take over Banožić’s duties, the prime minister added.
“Our condolences to the family of the deceased,” https://twitter.com/HrMarkom/status/1723271505876836651 on the X social network of government spokesman Marko Milić. He added that Banožić’s life is not in danger, even though he suffered serious injuries. According to doctors, he had bruises on his head and brain, he is conscious and remains in the hospital for observation.
Croatian news portal Index reported that Banožić appeared to have gone hunting. Photos from the scene of the accident show his car turned on its side in rainy and foggy weather, with a badly damaged van next to it, the AP reported.